1st LD: Biden signs Democratic bill on tax, health care, climate


WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, a scaled-down version of the massive "Build Back Better" package he and many Democrats envisioned last year.

Touting it as a "historic bill," Biden said at the White House that it will lower costs for American families, combat the climate crisis, reduct the deficit, and finally make the largest corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

The bill includes a roughly 400-billion-U.S.-dollar investment in fighting climate change, measures to make prescription drugs more affordable, and a 15-percent minimum tax on most corporations that make more than 1 billion dollars per year. The legislation would generate nearly 300 billion dollars of net revenue over a decade.

Democrats used a fast-track legislative process known as reconciliation, which allowed them to pass the measure without any support from Senate Republicans. Earlier this month, the evenly-divided Senate approved the bill by a vote of 51 to 50 along party lines.

On Friday, the bill cleared the House by a vote of 220 to 207 also along party lines.

Democrats had been eager to push through their domestic policy ambitions before the mid-term elections, but Republicans strongly opposed the bill, arguing that tax increases would impose burdens on U.S. businesses and workers and hurt the economy.

"Democrats robbed Americans last year by spending our economy into record inflation. This year, their solution is to do it a second time," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a tweet.

"The partisan bill President Biden signed into law today means higher taxes, higher energy bills, and aggressive IRS audits," said McConnell, referring to the Internal Revenue Service, which administers and enforces U.S. federal tax laws.

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